my Highlander's Curt hitch broke again! - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-02-2012, 08:50 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
Jim, how many vehicle factories do you think actually make the hitches they install?
I just checked the tow rating for the Highlander, the 2012 is rated for 5,000 lbs "when properly equipped"
I notice looking at the Trailer Life tow ratings that many of the same model cars can have different tow ratings, same engine, same running gear same everything. The Factory tow pkg is more than just a hitch, it includes a higher output alternator, a transmission cooler, most times a beefier suspension the wiring is already to plug up, etc. Your suggestion of the hitch not being built by their car factory is probably true but whoever makes it you can bet it meets their specs, they really don't want call backs or law suits.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:55 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Perhaps after market "bolt on" accessories should be avoided and owners should purchase vehicles with factory hitches. Not aware of any OEM failures.
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Originally Posted by Laura & Rick View Post
The OEM hitch is a different design than the after market hitches. It "blends" into the bumper such that the attachment points do not need the loop around the muffler. And, being at bumper height, the OEM hitch is higher off the ground preventing any scraping with the ground. The OEM hitch is expensive compared to after market hitches but does not have any issues that come with the after market hitches.
I realize the Tow Vehicle in question is a 2008 Toyota Highlander, and these observations may be true for this vehicle. However, my first Reese receiver on my 2003 Honda Odyssey was absolutely physically identical to Honda's OEM receiver of that year. Newer Odysseys may have a more integrated receiver design.

The only differences between Honda OEM and Reese aftermarket:
  • Honda down-rated theirs to 3500 pounds with WDH while Reese rates theirs 3500 pounds without WDH and 5000 pounds with WDH. (I always followed Honda's recommendations)
  • Honda's list price for the receiver and the 4-pin flat electrical connection was $800, which I negotiated down to $400. Camping World charged me $275 for the Reese aftermarket versions.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:30 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
I have a U-haul hitch and although it appears to be sound I am worried as after 4.5 years its is showing a lot of rust!!
They all rust.
I'm fortunate to live in an area where we get very little rain.
Get a wire brush and some Rusteoleum spray paint.
It will last longer than your TV.
John
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:36 PM   #32
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After I retired I became bored and went to work for a Honda dealership.
Every vehicle sold with a Tow package went to an RV shop or U-Haul for the hitch and wiring.
If coolers were part of the TP they were installed by the dealership.
The Honda store across the street did the same thing.
John
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:35 PM   #33
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CORRECTION!!
I went out and looked under my 2001 Ranger and discovered that I had the brand name wrong! It is NOT a Drawtite... It is a "HiddenHitch"

It is so rust free that the painted label over the powder coating is still perfectly legible after 11 years and 150 thousand miles!
I have installed Drawtite in the past and I am sure they are just fine,But I must give credit where it is due,
It is the "HiddenHitch" (not the Drawtite) which is the finest hitch I have ever owned or installed.
Sorry for my mistake.

http://www.hiddenhitch.com/content/default.aspx
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:34 AM   #34
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Preventing rust is a good thing, and would be considered normal maintenance, but probably didn't cause the hitch to fail. Looking at the picture that Andrew posted you can see the compromise the designers were faced with. The exhaust passes right through the place where the beam should be. That bent strap (a big "C") is heavy metal but flexes when the trailer bounces, and pushes and pulls. The point where the heavy C is welded to the lighter vertical strap looks to be where the metal flexed most. People that do extended periods of towing put a lot of fatigue cycles on the hitch. In those cases it may be better to relocate the exhaust system to accommodate an un-compromised hitch. Alternately, you could just replace the hitch every so many towing miles. Heavier trailers or bad roads would accelerate the replacement time.
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Old 04-03-2012, 12:54 PM   #35
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After I retired I became bored and went to work for a Honda dealership.
Every vehicle sold with a Tow package went to an RV shop or U-Haul for the hitch and wiring.
If coolers were part of the TP they were installed by the dealership.
The Honda store across the street did the same thing.
John

John up until a couple of years ago Subaru did the same thing - they still do if you want something more than a class II and want to having working trailer brakes. Only difference is they do not make a cooler either.
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Old 04-03-2012, 01:33 PM   #36
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. . .Looking at the picture that Andrew posted you can see the compromise the designers were faced with. The exhaust passes right through the place where the beam should be. That bent strap (a big "C") is heavy metal but flexes when the trailer bounces, and pushes and pulls. The point where the heavy C is welded to the lighter vertical strap looks to be where the metal flexed most. People that do extended periods of towing put a lot of fatigue cycles on the hitch. In those cases it may be better to relocate the exhaust system to accommodate an un-compromised hitch . . . .
Russ
That is exactly why the OEM Toyota hitch works. It is intergrated into the bumper and goes straight over the muffler without the need of any "C" or "U" loops.
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Old 04-03-2012, 02:04 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
John up until a couple of years ago Subaru did the same thing - they still do if you want something more than a class II and want to having working trailer brakes. Only difference is they do not make a cooler either.
Dealer equipped hitches are not the same as factory tow packages. The majority of stock foreign cars from Japan are shipped stripped to save on import duties with a lot of accessories added by a dealer. Tow hitches are secured stateside. As mentioned above, the dealer sends it to the local hitch place. Is that as good as OEM from the factory? As mentioned, anyone can have a hitch installed at U-Haul. While looking at Nissan and Subaru I mentioned I wanted a tow package, the dealer said "We can put one on here" I asked is it the same as what comes from the factory, he said yes, but there are no cooling nor electrical upgrades offered from the factory either. That does not give me a good feeling that the vehicle is designed for towing.

But the above scenario is not the same as a factory tow package with heavy duty cooling, bigger alternator, thicker wiring and a hitch receiver attached at the factory. Wheels and suspension plus transmission upgrades are also part of a factory tow package. It is a whole package, not just the hitch receiver.
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:29 PM   #38
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amen
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Old 04-03-2012, 07:42 PM   #39
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I do have the factory tow prep package on my Highlander (so it is "properly equipped"). I made sure it was one of the options on the unit I chose to dicker on. The hitch receiver and wiring plug are not part of that package, though.

Russ, as heavy as that steel is, I think you're right about the flexing.

Downward force on the trailer's front in a stop is the same as that experienced in the car or truck. You brake, the nose goes down. The trailer is no different. Even if it has brakes, it noses down. A downward force is being exerted on the tongue when that happens. Meanwhile, the tow vehicle's back end is exerting a bit extra upward force as it's front goes down.

My trailer brakes quit working a couple of months ago, and it took me a week or so before I could spare it to have it worked on. Perhaps the extra force of the unbraked trailer pushing on the receiver started that crack. I hadn't thought of that until just now.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:36 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
Dealer equipped hitches are not the same as factory tow packages. The majority of stock foreign cars from Japan are shipped stripped to save on import duties with a lot of accessories added by a dealer. Tow hitches are secured stateside. As mentioned above, the dealer sends it to the local hitch place. Is that as good as OEM from the factory? As mentioned, anyone can have a hitch installed at U-Haul. While looking at Nissan and Subaru I mentioned I wanted a tow package, the dealer said "We can put one on here" I asked is it the same as what comes from the factory, he said yes, but there are no cooling nor electrical upgrades offered from the factory either. That does not give me a good feeling that the vehicle is designed for towing.

But the above scenario is not the same as a factory tow package with heavy duty cooling, bigger alternator, thicker wiring and a hitch receiver attached at the factory. Wheels and suspension plus transmission upgrades are also part of a factory tow package. It is a whole package, not just the hitch receiver.
My Ranger Edge came without the tow package,... but the heavy duty cooling, 130 amp alternator and load package,upgraded brakes,and a four plug were all standard.
There are no special towing wheels, and drivetrain components are fullsized .
I added the HiddenHitch, an RV plug, a brake controller, and trailer battery charge system.
I agree that you should know what you are buying, whether you are going to tow or not, but too many people are more interested in image than substance. Buyer be(A)ware.
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:40 PM   #41
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Floyd,

I've never heard of a trailer battery charge system. What does that consist of?

Thanks

Norm
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:51 PM   #42
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Dealer equipped hitches are not the same as factory tow packages. The majority of stock foreign cars from Japan are shipped stripped to save on import duties with a lot of accessories added by a dealer. Tow hitches are secured stateside.
While looking at Nissan and Subaru I mentioned I wanted a tow package, the dealer said "We can put one on here" I asked is it the same as what comes from the factory, he said yes, but there are no cooling nor electrical upgrades offered from the factory either. "

Jim your theory that its done to save money on import duties does not hold true for Subaru as they are actually built in Indiana.
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